INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACTS, 1946 TO 2001
SECTION 20(1), INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT, 1969
BRITISH MIDLAND AIRWAYS
(REPRESENTED BY THE IRISH BUSINESS AND EMPLOYERS' CONFEDERATION)
- AND -
AMALGAMATED TRANSPORT AND GENERAL WORKERS' UNION
Chairman: Mr Flood
Employer Member: Mr Carberry
Worker Member: Mr. Somers
1. Union recognition.
2. The issue in dispute concerns the Union's claim for recognition to represent cabin crew based in Dublin. The Company rejects the claim and states that it has an exclusive and established recognition agreement with AEEU/Cabin Crew 89 in relation to all cabin crew throughout the Organisation.
In 1990 and 1993 the Union referred claims to the Labour Court for recognition in respect of Ramp Handling Staff and Customer Service Agents. Labour Court recommendations LCR13140 and LCR13988 recommended in favour of the Union's claims. The present claim was received in the Labour Court on the 11th of December, 2000, under Section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act, 1969. The Union agreed to be bound by the Court's recommendation. The Court investigated the dispute on the 13th of September, 2001, the earliest date suitable to the parties.
3. 1. This is a simple recognition case and the Union cannot understand why the Company is so intransigent in continually refusing the Union's right to be recognised. The Company is using every available opportunity to frustrate the Union and its potential members in respect of joining a Union of their choice.
2. A considerable number of employees in the UK and Ireland are members of no Union. However, many categories of staff employed by the Company have had a desire to join and become members of this Union. The Union is seeking the right to represent and negotiate on behalf of its members, as has been previously recommended in similar cases by the Labour Court.
3. The Company is not locked into an agreement with Cabin Crew 89, as this Union's London office currently has in excess of 350 cabin crew members. The Union has no doubt that the London office will succeed in establishing recognition rights, as UK legislation allows for automatic recognition when a certain number of members join the Union.
4. 1. The Company has an established and exclusive recognition agreement with AEEU/Cabin Crew 89 since 1989. The AEEU is not in agreement with any deviation from the agreed arrangement and has advised the Company that they will notify the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the TUC in London of the situation.
2. The Dublin based cabin crew are not an autonomous group or a separate negotiating unit for the purposes of agreeing pay and conditions of employment. These negotiations are conducted on an organisation-wide basis. Any alteration in the agreed arrangement for the 40 Dublin based cabin crew will have serious implications for the arrangement as it applies to 800 cabin crew (and potentially 1700 in total) elsewhere in the organisation.
3. From an industrial relations perspective, it would be extremely inappropriate and undesirable to create a multi-union environment. A proliferation of trade unions would not be conducive to a stable industrial relations environment. It would also be contrary to the spirit and intent of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990.
The Court is satisfied that the Company fears of being caught in an inter union conflict if it concedes this claim are well founded, given the correspondence from the other Union involved.
Taking into account all of the very serious issues involved in this case, the Court recommends that the I.C.T.U. be requested to become involved with a view to resolving the matter.
Signed on behalf of the Labour Court
17th October, 2001______________________
Enquiries concerning this Recommendation should be addressed to Dympna Greene, Court Secretary.